A DUET OF SORBETS

Now that Fall is upon us, I need to get these sorbets out before it’s too late. Although of course, I have always my wonderful friends from Brazil and Down Under to consider, the lucky ones who are starting their beautiful march towards SUMMER!  The first sorbet is for those who appreciate the bite of citric fruits, and prefer desserts that are not overly sweet.  The second is a lot more mellow, but it has a secret ingredient to shake things up. Don’t knock it until you try it. Trust me!

lime-sorbet

TRIPLE CITRUS SORBET
(inspired by Cook’s Illustrated)

1 cup granulated sugar (1 + 1/4 cup if you prefer)
1 teaspoons grated lime zest
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 + 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh citrus juice
(1 lime, 2 lemons, fresh orange juice to 1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Cointreau (or vodka) 

Pulse the sugar, zest, and salt together in a food processor until well combined. With the machine running, pour the remaining ingredients through the feed tube and continue to process until the sugar is dissolved.   Strain the mixture into a large bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.
Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream machine and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions, until the mixture resembles soft-serve ice cream. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This was absolutely delicious! If you have a particularly heavy meal, maybe a bit high on fat content (think ribs, maybe?) this sorbet is going to be perfect. The original recipe called for 1 + 1/4 cups of sugar, but I added less and felt it was enough for our taste, as we tend to dislike excessive sugar in desserts. Try the base before churning, and adjust. Make sure to process any additional sugar until it is fully dissolved. I always add some alcohol to our sorbets because it improves texture in the freezer. It is not mandatory for flavor, you can omit it.

cantaloupe-sorbet

CANTALOUPE-CAYENNE SORBET
(adapted from Food Videos)

1 + 1/2 pounds peeled, seeded cantaloupe  (about 4 + 1/2 cups, packed)
1/2 cup white sugar (100 g)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon if you dare!)

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.  Place in the fridge to cool completely for at least 4 hours.

Give a stir with a spoon, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process it according to the instructions of your machine.

Freeze and enjoy!

to print the recipe click here

Comments: I made the sorbet with only 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and thought it was perfect. However, the moment I mentioned to Phil there was a secret ingredient in it and divulged its identity, he suggested  we (we, got it?) should make another batch without it. He likes the pure flavor of the fruit to shine through. So that was that. A second batch was prepared (and I must admit we did it together) the following weekend without the cayenne and the vinegar for a side-by-side single-blind experiment. He liked the version without cayenne better. Me? I loved the peppery one. It gives just a nice background heat, that I thought complemented the fruit quite well. If you like the combination of sweet and savory, grab your bottle of cayenne and churn away…

triple-citrus-cantaloupe-sorbets-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

TWO YEARS AGO: Spiralizer Fun

THREE YEARS AGO: Beer-Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Secret Recipe Club: Corn Chowda

FIVE YEARS AGO: Page-A-Day Calendar (Pits and Chief 5 minutes of fame…)

SIX YEARS AGO: Home Sweet Home (our beloved Pits in one of his last photos)

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye

PORK RIBS: STICKY, SPICY, AND AWESOME

Have I already mentioned how much we love ribs? I am sure I did, and more than once. My default recipe is the first one I blogged about back in 2011, a favorite with Phil and the kids. But I am always trying new versions, although the basic method, cooking low and slow, then blasting them in high heat stays unchanged. This recipe was recommended a while ago by my friend Kathy, and once I read the magical words Gochujang, I knew I was going to love it. Plus, when you marry Gochujang with apricot jam, well… you see where this is going. Explosion of flavors.  Get your napkins. You’ll be digging into these babies with enthusiasm.

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STICKY AND SPICY GOCHUJANG PORK RIBS

(adapted from The Splendid Table)

to cook the ribs:
1 large rack of pork spare ribs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger root (yes, half a cup)
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup soy sauce

for the sauce:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

Put the ribs in a large saucepan or stockpot with the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook gently for 1½ hours, until the ribs are tender and cooked through.

Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. Line a roasting pan with foil  and heat the oven to 400°F.

Arrange the cooked ribs on the prepared pan and brush with the sauce to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning and basting the ribs with more sauce halfway through cooking. I do that step with the ribs loosely covered with aluminum foil.

Remove the pan from the oven and put the broiler on high. Brush the ribs once again with the remaining sauce, then broil until the sauce is sticky and just beginning to char at the edges.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Don’t be put off by the look of the meat once it’s out of the cooking liquid. Yes, it looks like hospital food, but  a smear with the killer gochujang sauce and the perfect environment of a hot oven (or you could use the grill too if you prefer) will turn this ugly duckling into a gorgeous swan…

gochujangribs2

I like my ribs to be falling off the bone, and that’s the reason why I baked them covered after they were out of the pre-cooking bath. It helps to take them to that stage. They are quite spicy, but the ginger and sweetness of the apricot jam balance the heat quite well.  I served them with thick spiralized cucumber, very simply dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkle of Tajin, a Mexican spice mix I’m very fond of.  Of course, you can go the more authentic route of rice and beans, maybe some cole-slaw, but ribs are heavy by definition, so I opt for a light side dish to compensate.

gochujangribs-from-bewitching-kitchen

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Sobering Peach Sorbet

TWO YEARS AGO: Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Silky Cauliflower Puree with Almond Milk


SIX YEARS AGO:
 Popeye-Pleasing Salad
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SEVEN YEARS AGO: Summer’s Finale

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SOURDOUGH LOAF WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS

I blogged on a similar sourdough last year, but this is a slightly different version, with a bit of semolina and whole wheat flour. I baked this bread for a very special occasion, the visit of dear friends I had not seen in 15 years!  A cute story behind our friendship needs to be told.  Back in 1995. When I moved from Paris to Norman to join the University of Oklahoma, a colleague from our department insisted I should meet Denise, a Brazilian graduate student from the College of Education.  It so happens that I’m not that wild about this type of arranged meeting.  I don’t know exactly why, maybe I simply prefer to meet people naturally and make connections independently of the place where they were born. And guess what? Denise felt exactly like me about the whole thing. But we both liked that Professor very much, and decided what the heck, let’s just give this a try. To make a long story short, we “clicked” in a way that we could not have anticipated in a million years!  Our friendship continued after she, her husband Hélio and three kids (now three adults) emigrated permanently to England a few years later. Hélio now travels to Texas on a regular basis for work, and that made it easier for them to plan a quick visit to our neck of the woods. Fifteen years!  Hard to believe time passed so quickly… Denise loves cranberries, so this bread was a natural choice to welcome them to our home. She also loves white chocolate, but that story shall be left for another post…

denise-sourdough

DENISE’S SOURDOUGH WITH CRANBERRIES AND WALNUTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the starter (you won’t use everything)
30 g sourdough starter (at 100% hydration)
55 g water
45 g all-purpose flour

For the dough:
65 g starter (about half of starter prepared)
220 g water
160 g semolina flour
120 g bread flour
35 g whole wheat flour
7 g sea salt
80 g dried cranberries
50 g toasted walnut pieces

Make your starter 12 hours before you intend to prepare the dough. Let it ferment at room temperature.

To the appropriate amount of starter (65 g, remember you are not using the full amount made) add the water and mix gently to dissolve it. No need to completely dissolve the starter at this point. Add the flours and mix, allow it to sit with the water for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough, mix it by folding several times, to incorporate the salt. Add the cranberries and the walnuts, mix them gently. Allow the dough to ferment for 5 hours. Fold 5 times at 30 minute intervals. That will take you to 2.5 hours fermentation. Allow the dough to ferment for 2.5 more hours undisturbed.

Shape the dough as a ball, place it in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the fridge one hour before baking, as you heat the oven. Invert the shaped loaf on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for easy transfer to the oven.

Bake at 450 F with initial steam for 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 425 F and bake for about 25 more minutes. Use your favorite method to generate steam, I like a covered Dutch oven with the lid moist with water before covering the bread. After 30 minutes I open the lid to allow the bread to brown. Cool completely on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: I am always a bit anxious when it comes to baking bread for special friends. I want it to be perfect, delicious, awesome, but sourdough is a harsh mistress… You can make one perfect loaf, use the same starter, the same recipe a couple of days later and open the oven to find a bread that turned out more like a flat pancake. Usually still very tasty, but… well, you get my point. I made this bread the day before they arrived, so that if it was not worthy of my friends, I could have time for a plan B: a frantic drive to the grocery store. Imagine that!  But to my relief it all had a happy ending. A beautiful marriage between cranberries and walnuts, nice balance of whole wheat with regular flour so that the bread itself had a nice texture and taste.  Perfect with goat cheese, but even just a little butter will work well.  Honestly, even naked it’s great. The bread. Obviously.

I am submitting this post to Bread Box Round Up,
hosted by Karen, the Bread Baking Goddess.

 

cranberries-and-walnuts-sourdough-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry in Garlic Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Our Green Trip to Colorado

THREE YEARS AGO: Ditalini Pasta Salad

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

SIX YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

 

 

GOING NAKED… AND MY HUSBAND LOVED IT!

Obviously, I am talking naked tomatoes. Obviously. Another almost non-recipe that went from spotting on a site to preparing and blogging in record time… The source for this little gem is the video blog Food Wishes, hosted by Chef John. I’ve been following his site for a long time, he always posts interesting stuff, but I admit to rarely watching the videos. I am a very impatient person. Give me the recipe, if possible with just a photo or two, and I’m a happy camper. But, I must say whenever I watch his videos, I feel happy I did. He is a natural teacher, concise, and very witty. Anyway, these naked tomatoes intrigued me. I read his post while we were away in Portland. We landed back in town, and stopped at the grocery store on our way home. I made a beeline for the fresh produce stand. Not a single cherry tomato to be found. However, gorgeous grape tomatoes said hello to me, so I asked “do you mind if I take your clothes off?”

naked-grape-tomatoes2

NAKED GRAPE TOMATOES
(adapted from Food Wishes)

a bunch of grape tomatoes
salted boiling water
ice water bath
a little patience and loving care
extra-virgin olive oil
white balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic, or sherry vinegar)
dried thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Make two very small and not too deep incisions in each grape tomato on the side opposite of the stem.

Drop them in salted boiling water for just a few seconds. The moment the skin starts to curl up, remove them quickly and dump them in ice water until cold.

Carefully peel off the skin, one by one. Be Zen. It is good for you.

Add them to a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, thyme (or another herb of your choice), salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes, cover with plastic and leave at room temperature until serving time.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositenaked

Comments: I will not lie to you, peeling small tomatoes is a labor of love. But worth it. If you have a dinner party, these would be amazing as appetizers. Grab a toothpick, pop one of these naked cuties in your mouth, repeat. I also envision them served over crostini, a nice smear of ricotta underneath, maybe even baked ricotta. Have you ever had baked ricotta? Here is a recipe for you, just to make things easier. Both Phil and I loved these tomatoes, the resulting texture is wonderful! The dressing, instead of slipping off the tomato skin, permeates delicately through its flesh. Is that sexy or what?

dinner-servedDinner is served: Turkey Portobello Burgers, avocados,
and Naughty Grape Tomatoes… 

naked-grape-tomatoes-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Cream Cheese Mini-Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

TWO YEARS AGO:  Star-Shaped Chocolate Brioche Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Blueberry-Banana Bread 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Into the Light Again

FIVE YEARS AGO: Five Grain Sourdough Bread

SIX YEARS AGO: The Nano-Kitchen

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Kaiser Rolls

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MANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS

If there was a folder with “non-recipes” in this site, this concoction would feel at home sitting inside. It is way too simple to qualify as a recipe. But it turned out so delicious, I must share and save it for my records.  If you have mangoes available at the grocery store, you should give this salsa a try. I used Verjus because I was anxious to try it, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t have a bottle in your pantry.  Lemon juice will work great too, a little more acidity never hurt a salsa, trust me on that.  Due to food sensitivities, this is an onion-less preparation.  I will include them as an option since most people consider salsa not be salsa unless loaded with onions. Honestly, I prefer it without.  However, you should go heavy on the cilantro.

mango-salsaMANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 juicy, small mangoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
2 large red tomatoes, Heirloom is possible, diced
1/2 large onion, diced (optional)
1/2 Serrano pepper, finely minced
cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or another oil of your choice)
1 tablespoon Verjus (or juice of half a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste

Add all the diced veggies to a bowl.   In a small bowl, whisk the avocado oil with the Verjus or lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour on the veggies, mix well, add the minced cilantro and toss gently to combine.  Keep in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  Adjust seasoning and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositesalsa

Comments: I served this salsa over very simply grilled chicken breasts, and ended up eating a lot of salsa with a little bit of chicken for my meal that evening. Leftovers held very well in the fridge, and were amazing when added to mashed avocados for a tropical take on guacamole. I added a little more Serrano pepper just because.
Phil made a little quesadilla with Queso Fresco and a hearty spoonful of the salsa. As you can tell, this simple mixture of sweet mango and veggies is quite versatile and will brighten up many types of dishes. Next time around it will go over grilled salmon. I salivate just thinking about it…  Frozen mango slices are available, but I am not sure they would work here. I think nothing beats the fresh fruit at its peak in this type of preparation.

mango-salsa-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Raspberry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

THREE YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

SIX YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: TEXAS SHEET CAKE

September is here!  The month that brings with it the end of the summer, and the beginning of Sally’s foul mood. Aren’t you thrilled? Well, I cannot let meteorology ruin the mood of my favorite event in the whole blogosphere: The Secret Recipe Club‘s Reveal Day is here, for us members of Group A.  My assignment was the blog Crazed Mom, hosted by Nicole, from St. Louis. Crazed Mom, what a cute name for a site, it tells it all. Nicole is a mom to five teenagers. Let’s make a brief pause to let that sink in. Five teenagers. She also takes care of a toddler and a newborn on a regular basis. Five teenagers. One toddler. One newborn. I have a full-time job that demands quite a bit of energy and commitment, but I am always in awe of women whose job is to take care of one or several kids. How do they do it? I know there are plenty of rewards, but imagine having to deal with kids at different phases, one going to school, dealing with homework, sleepovers, another too young to leave your radar, some very picky eaters, some with food allergies. And of course, you are also a woman, a wife,  a daughter, maybe a sister, with goals and dreams for yourself. Not easy to find balance.  But Nicole does it all and blogs about a ton of interesting stuff, in fact she’s been a presence online for 12 years! Unreal!  I had a lot of fun browsing her site, even if this past month was particularly sad and stressful for us.  I did not have as much time as I normally like to indulge in the stalking process, but still composed a list of possibilities to share with  you today. Here they are:  Chicken Kiev with a Twist,  The Best Blueberry Muffins,  Caramel Coconut Cupcakes, and Spicy Gingerbread with a Mocha Glaze (if that doesn’t make you go weak in the knees, you need therapy).  But once I saw her take on a Texas Sheet Cake, I decided I had to make it. I’ve often heard about it, but had never tasted or even seen one face-to-face. I had to take matters into my own hands, and jump on this opportunity to enlighten myself on this American classic.

Texas Sheet Cake

TEXAS SHEET CAKE
(from Crazed Mom)

for the cake:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the icing:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 box (1 pound) confectioners’ sugar (sift it first to remove lumps – otherwise icing remains lumpy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake: In a saucepan, combine the butter, water and cocoa over med. heat until the butter melts. Don’t let it cook too long. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, eggs, and baking soda. Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Careful, it’s hot. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix well. Pour into a sheet cake pan or jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the icing: In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and milk over medium heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and combine with confectioners sugar and vanilla. Mix well with a mixer to remove lumps. Spread over the sheet cake while it is still hot.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: This is a rich cake. Very rich. As Nicole says, eat a slice and go take a walk. But I tell you one thing, it is decadent delicious, it’s the kind of cake that with each bite you feel more and more naughty, which is a good feeling to have every once in a while.  I took it to our department and it was basically gone within 45 minutes. I also got several visits to the lab of colleagues thanking me and giving me hints of “you can bake this one again anytime!”  I guess by now they realized that a food blogger rarely repeats recipes and once something really good shows up in the mail room, they better enjoy. Be Zen. Savor the moment. Literally.

Confession time… My friend Gary is my guru for all things involving baking. I was wondering about the size of pan to use and wanted to run a question by him, so I texted.  Then I told Phil about it. I just texted Gary, I had a question about that sheet cake I’m making today.  Phil almost lost it, laughing so hard – “what kind of cake are you making????” It turns out that my spoken sheet apparently sounds exactly like another word that starts with SH.  It’s a good thing accents don’t travel by text.

Nicole, I loved stalking your site, and agree with you, this is one amazing cake, I am not surprised that you requested it every year for your Birthday. If we have to get one year older, might as well celebrate in style!  

And, for all my readers,  you can delight yourself with the recipes made by my virtual friends with a poke in the blue frog smiling quietly at the end of the post.

Texas Sheet Cake from Bewitching Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, September 2015

TWO YEARS AGO: Sour Cherry Sorbet: A Labor of Love

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

FOUR YEARS AGO: Raspberry Sorbet at Summer’s End

FIVE YEARS AGO: When three is better than two  (four years with Buck!)

SIX YEARS AGO: Grating Tomatoes (and loving it!)

SEVEN YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny Day